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Review Brew: ‘Batman: Damned’ #2

Batman and Constantine have teamed up to investigate the murder of the Joker. Their investigation leads them to an underground nightclub in Gotham. Constantine reveals to Batman that he has a source in the club that might have information on what really happened to the Joker. Batman enters the club only to discover that the source is Etrigan The Demon Knight. Etrigan performs at the club as a rapper and has a huge influence on the crowd. Meanwhile, Gotham is attacked by the “Joker” and Batman races to the top of the GCPD building for answers.

Batman: Damned #2
Written By: Brian Azzarello
Art By: Lee Bermejo
Published By: DC Black Label
Price: $6.99
Release Date: 12/12/2018

Batman and Constantine have teamed up to investigate the murder of the Joker. Their investigation leads them to an underground nightclub in Gotham. Constantine reveals to Batman that he has a source in the club that might have information on what really happened to the Joker. Batman enters the club only to discover that the source is Etrigan The Demon Knight. Etrigan performs at the club as a rapper and has a huge influence on the crowd. Meanwhile, Gotham is attacked by the “Joker” and Batman races to the top of the GCPD building for answers.

Writer Brian Azzarello crafts a mystery that is complex and intriguing. This is a mystery that Batman is having a hard time solving and it’s up to him to team up with Constantine to find the answers. There is a supernatural element to the story that not only works to bring in characters like Constantine and Etrigan, but it’s also there to make Batman question his beliefs and methods. Azzarello writes Batman as a skeptic who no matter how many strange things he witnesses, he always has to find a scientific reason behind them. This time Batman is having a hard time finding those reasons and it only pushes him to trust Constantine more. One of my favorite aspects of the story is that this is told from Constantine’s point of view and that only strengthens the mystery and intrigue. It’s in these moments where Constantine questions Batman’s methods and in a way so does the reader. All of these things make Brian Azzarello the perfect person to tell this story.

The art by Lee Bermejo is absolutely stunning. It sets the mood for this dark and mature tale and does not hold back. Every single panel in this book is something to behold. All of the characters in this book are drawn beautifully and they belong in this world. The Gotham City that is shown here is dark and gritty no matter what time of day. Bermejo also has amazing command of shadows and textures. In the scenes that take place in the nightclub, Bermejo uses a lot of brown and beige to convey an interesting setting. The club feels very earthy and that drives home the fact that this is an underground nightclub. Also, the action sequences in are beautiful and violent. They remind of the brutal warehouse fight from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. I love to see Batman get into those types of close fights because that is the way I have always pictured he fights. All in all, I absolutely love the art style for this story.

Despite all of the positive things about Batman: Damned #2, I did notice a couple of things out-of-place. The first thing I noticed was that Enchantress seems very out-of-place in this story. There were a couple of spots in the first issue where she showed up that didn’t make sense and she shows up in this issue as well. Once again it doesn’t make sense why she is there. Is she there to facilitate flashbacks or does she have a bigger role that won’t be revealed until the finale? It adds some confusion to everything that is going on. The second thing that I noticed was the portrayal of Thomas Wayne. As I stated above, there are flashbacks that feature Bruce as a child. It’s here that it is revealed that Thomas Wayne cheated on his wife a lot and that Bruce might be the product of a broken marriage. While this would help explain the brutality of this version of Batman, it really shouldn’t be the driving force behind it. I understand that this is an “Elseworlds” take on Batman and the story exists outside of main DC canon but this subplot just does not work. Hopefully by the third issue, this plot will make sense and resolve itself.

I did enjoy Batman: Damned #2 and I am looking forward to seeing how this story comes to a close.

4 rapping Etrigans out of 5

 

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